Tioga's Patsellis shines when the games matter most
The Tioga Tigers are not a team that relies on just one player, with three players averaging between eight and 13 points a game this year.
A varsity regular since ninth grade, Callie Patsellis has always been a good player, but she's not the Tigers' leading scorer. She doesn't score 20 a night.
She won't score 2,000 points like her cousin Kara McDuffee did. She won't quite get to a 1,000.
But, when Tioga begins play today in the Section IV playoffs all eyes will likely be on Patsellis.
Some players struggle in big games, but when the lights are the brightest that's when Patsellis has always been at her best.
The most recent example came last week in a one-game playoff with Newfield for the IAC title.
The senior had one of her best games of the year, scoring 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting. More than that it was her defense, always around the ball, creating turnovers that led to easy Tioga baskets.
"I have to give credit to my AAU coach Mr. Huggler," Patsellis said. "It's the pressure defense that he plays."
All season long the defense has been something that Patsellis has been working on and improving on.
"Mr. (Dave) Reese (the Tioga boys coach) has the boys in the morning and Emily (Schweiger) and I have worked with them and they work on intense defense," Patsellis said. "My coaches here, my AAU coach, Mr. Reese, I've been lucky to work with some great coaches."
For Patsellis a big game in a big moment is hardly something new.
Her first moments of varsity basketball came in the postseason when she got called up to varsity in eighth grade.
A year later the Tigers were in the state finals and Patsellis had a moment few will ever have in their basketball careers.
Playing alongside her cousin, the school's all-time leading scorer, Patsellis never missed in the state final as the Tigers came up one basket short of a state title.
"I will never forget that year, it was awesome," Patsellis said.
From the freshman who made a name for herself in a state final, Patsellis is now a senior leader entering the postseason for one last time.
"It is a little weird," Patsellis said. "I am used to having people to help me and now I am helping people out."
In her career Patsellis has had plenty of postseason success, but this year would be different. This year she's a senior, one of the leaders of the team.
"It would be awesome," she said. "It's cool to be a part of it as a role player, but it would be amazing to do it now."
While she has had big games before, it's hard to always remember all of them, so she would be excited to make new, lasting memories.
"The states game I can't say I remember much about it, I was just so nervous," Patsellis said.
Now that the regular season is over and the postseason has begun Patsellis knows every game could be her last.
"It's been odd," she said. "It's a little bittersweet. It's sad, but I know I will play in college so it won't be over."
Patsellis is still finalizing where she will play next year, but she knows she knows she will have four more years of basketball.
"It's going to be awesome, I am so excited," she said.
While this won't mark the end of her basketball career, these are her last high school games and Patsellis hopes to add a few more big performances in the biggest games before she is done.